Universal preschool is in the news, and everyone from the president to Mayor de Blasio is talking about its benefits. Research increasingly shows that intervening early in a child’s life has positive effects on later academic and social progress.
Children’s Aid has recently doubled its quality early childhood programming in just five months. We now run approximately 50 classrooms at over 12 sites, which include New York City Housing Authority buildings, public schools, community centers that Children’s Aid owns and operates, and one stand-alone center owned by the city.
We also rolled out a new curriculum, called “Tools of the Mind,” starting three years ago, as part of a study run by NYU. The curriculum emphasizes executive function skills—such as planning a set of tasks, working memory and controlling distracting impulses. Improving executive function has been linked to improved learning outcomes and this curriculum has demonstrated success in Washington, DC and the Abbott programs in New Jersey. This year, we expanded the curriculum from three to seven sites, and next year, we plan to expand to all 12.
Recently, WNYC visited a pre-school classroom at our East Harlem Center to find out what a high-quality program looks and sounds like.
You can see the results at this link.
Listen to audio story below.